Easy harmonica songs for beginners (with tabs)

Start having fun RIGHT NOW with these 10 popular and easy to learn songs!

All notes are mainly in the middle register of the harmonica: holes 4 to 7, the easiest notes to play.

These are simple songs, but to play them well you should have good control of all the notes in the middle register, both individually and while moving between holes.

It is also advisable to apply articulations using syllables like “TA” and “DA” when doing repetitions of blow and draw notes, respectively. These articulations separate the notes and give them a more defined starting sound or accent.

For example, when we play a hole 4 blow and then repeat it, instead of blowing twice (with two separate airflows), we will only blow once, and by using the syllable “TA” as an articulation, the continuous airflow will be interrupted when your tongue fastly hits the hard palate, separating the notes. As a consequence, the sound of the repeated note will be clearer.

In 9 of these songs you will see that on the tabs there are as many articulations as repeated notes.

The songs are arranged by difficulty, and each song has a slow practice version and an original tempo version. It will be useful to learn each song bit by bit, and then play it all together.

Playing a song with a clean sound is more important than playing it fast.

“This Old Man” and “Jingle Bells” have several articulations and many passages with hole leaps, which make them even more demanding for a beginner.

When you jump holes, you must not move your mouth too far from the harmonica; just try to keep the gap to a minimum to land right at the center of the hole you want to play next. When you jump from holes 6 to 4, you could accidentally play hole 5 by falling short, or hole 3 by jumping too far. At first, problems with playing hole leaps are very common because you may not have a good reference on the harmonica yet, but you will improve this with practice!

The tablature I use is the arrow system – up arrows for blow notes and down arrows for draw notes. Learn more about different tablature systems in this article: “How to read harmonica tabs”

I play all the songs with a 10 hole diatonic harmonica in the key of C (letter C).

If you find it difficult to play these songs I highly recommend that you go first to my e-book Harmonica for Beginners.

1. Alouette

Alouette harmonica tab

Slow Tempo (80 bpm)

Original Tempo (100 bpm)

2. Ode to Joy

Ode to Joy harmonica tab

Slow Tempo (90 BPM)

Original Tempo (140 BPM)

The second part of the song (last 3 lines) is repeated. Although the tablature says 3 blow, which is the note of the original song, the last line in the audio is recorded in the same note one octave higher (G in the middle register). Playing 6 blow instead of 3 blow is a variant to test the jump from hole 4 to 6 since we are working with holes 4, 5 and 6 at this point – the easiest ones to play on the harmonica.

3. Mary Had a Little Lamb

Mary Had a Little Lamb harmonica tab

Slow Tempo (120 bpm)

Original Tempo (160 bpm)

4. Camptown Races

Camptown Races harmonica tab

Slow Tempo (80 bpm)

Original Tempo (100 bpm)

5. Oh Susanna

Oh Susanna harmonica tab

Slow Tempo (90 bpm)

Original Tempo (140 bpm)

6. When the Saints Go Marching In

When the Saints Go Marching In harmonica tab

Slow Tempo (120 bpm)

Original Tempo (160 bpm)

7. This Old Man

This Old Man harmonica tab

Slow Tempo (120 bpm)

Original Tempo (160 bpm)

8. Jingle Bells (First part)

Jingle Bells harmonica tab

Slow Tempo (80 bpm)

Original Tempo (110 bpm)

9. Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home harmonica tab

Slow Tempo (65 bpm)

Original Tempo (80 bpm)

10. Happy Birthday

Ok! You’ve played well all previous 9 songs… now let’s make things a little more challenging with the classic, well known song “Happy Birthday”.

Here we add holes 8 and 9 from the high register; you´ll see they are not so easy to play…

I´ll give you a little advice on how to play these holes: exhale and inhale more gently, never force the air!

Happy Birthday harmonica tab

Slow Tempo (80 bpm)

Original Tempo (110 bpm)

If you’re having trouble trying to play these songs and feeling a bit frustrated, don’t give up just yet: come on, you’re just getting started!!!

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  • Pournima Amondkar Feb 6, 2021 @ 9:49

    I am from India and loved this site. Thank you and I am learning happy b’day for my best friend’s b’day on 15th feb. Need more songs on this. Like “Wise men say only fools rush in” Please mail notes for this.

    • Bruno Berloto Feb 6, 2021 @ 21:20

      Hello Pournima, I’m very happy you like my website! Btw you’ll find more of these songs for beginners in my eBook. About your request: Elvis’s ballad “Can’t Help Falling In Love”, will be in a “20 famous songs” article, probably on March. Regards!

  • Brian Baker Feb 3, 2021 @ 20:16

    Hi Bruno
    How are you. Well I hope!!
    Getting through your book slowly but surely but very enjoyably.Thank you for your contribution to the harmonica beginner’s world. Fantastic!!
    A song I would like to see from you is Scarborough Fair. Simon & Garfunkel.
    Lets all keep on harping!!!

    • Bruno Berloto Feb 3, 2021 @ 23:48

      Hi Brian, I’m great thanks and you? First off, thank you very much for purchasing my eBook and especially for leaving your feedback, I really appreciate that! As for the song you mentioned, I have good news for you because an article with “20 Famous songs” will be coming soon. Meanwhile, you can take a look at my article (Spanish version) that includes a tutorial video Here. Keep harping my friend!

      • Lizzy Feb 4, 2021 @ 11:00

        Thank you for this! I have three nice harmonicas one my house and I decided I didn’t want to keep making the stereotypical hard blows my six year old makes. I also noticed I can hear the correct sounds blowing in am out even without the harmonica which helped me understand how the harmonica notes need to be. Thank you!

        • Bruno Berloto Feb 5, 2021 @ 23:54

          You’re very welcome Lizzy and thank you for your comment, it is good to know that this post was helpful for you!

  • Melissa Jan 29, 2021 @ 0:57

    Hello!! I’m so excited to find this site! I’ve almost mastered the first 5 songs! I recently bought a Hohner Special 20, it sounds so much better than my plastic cheap one!! Now my kids want me to play Piano Man. Do you have this? I need to look harder? Thanks so much!!! ❤️❤️

    • Bruno Berloto Jan 30, 2021 @ 1:30

      Hello Melissa! I am very very glad you are getting better so fast! and I really can’t believe it because I was thinking of preparing an article on how to play Piano Man, so stay tuned! 🙂

  • ARA Jan 28, 2021 @ 15:16

    I took my first harmonica out of its box about 90 minutes ago and wondered where to start; within 15 minutes of finding your site I was playing my first tune! OK it was a bit slow and hesitant but people in the room here recognised it! Thank you so much, I suddenly feel like I CAN do this 😀 Probably never going to be a virtuoso but that’s more due to MY limitations lol.

    • Bruno Berloto Jan 30, 2021 @ 1:27

      Wow thats great Amanda! I can feel your motivation for learning this wonderful instrument. Thank you very much for sharing your experience and keep playing!

  • Bernie Gaucher Jan 27, 2021 @ 1:05

    Hi I’m turning 78 years old next month.Is it to late for me to learn. I started to practice your ten number songs. I’m having some trouble but learning. I have to stay home all the time because of the Coronavirus. Is it possible to have more of your number songs. PS on every number songs you also play it with your harmonica which really helps me thank you Bernie

    • Bruno Berloto Jan 30, 2021 @ 1:22

      Hi Bernie, many thanks for your comment! and remember, it’s never late to learn and enjoy music. You can find more of these songs in my ebook “Harmonica For Beginners”. Regards!

  • Rob Banks Jan 19, 2021 @ 18:56

    Hi i’m new to Harmonica is there songs for 16 holes?

    • Bruno Berloto Jan 20, 2021 @ 21:20

      Hi Rob, this site is for the 10-hole diatonic harmonica. Regards!

  • Myra Jan 19, 2021 @ 6:21

    Hello! I played simple tunes on tremolo when I was small. I have recently bought a 10 hole (Hape, without sharp edges) to play simple tunes to my 1-year-old son. Any tips for the change of harmonica type?

    • Bruno Berloto Jan 20, 2021 @ 21:19

      Hello Myra, just out of curiosity, did you buy a 10 hole harmonica in the key of C? Regarding your inquiry, tremolo harmonicas have a different way to play: you must play two cells at the same time. However, on a 10 hole diatonic harmonica you have to play each separate hole, and the harmonica players call it playing “clean” single notes. First, make a “U” shape with your lips with the harmonica resting on the lower lip, as if drinking from a bottle and the upper lip just resting in a relaxed position on the top cover plate of the harmonica. If you want to play single notes correctly, you should match the width of the hole with the base of that letter “U” I mentioned before. Start practicing on hole number 4 at first and fixed (without making movements between other cells). In my ebook “Harmonica for Beginners” I explain this technique in detail. Regards!

  • Tman Jan 3, 2021 @ 16:23

    Great website – really clear tabs, good selection of songs, and your audio is extremely helpful! Many, many thanks

    • Bruno Berloto Jan 4, 2021 @ 13:01

      Thank you very much for your comment, I’m really glad this is helpful for you!

  • Kelsey Baker Jan 3, 2021 @ 0:17

    This thing is dope. I just learned 2 songs in 5 mins.

    • Bruno Berloto Jan 4, 2021 @ 12:58

      Thanks Kelsey! and congrats, I must admit that you are the first person I know to learn 2 songs in just 5 minutes!

  • Maddyson Jan 1, 2021 @ 22:04

    Hi Bruno.Its me Maddy again ,still on your website after the last time I talked to you.I’m now ten and almost in fifth grade.Your website is so helpful I might even let my brother use it to help him with harmonicas.

    • Bruno Berloto Jan 2, 2021 @ 16:52

      Hi Maddy, thanks for your comment, thats great! and may be in the future you can even play together, it would be fantastic. All the best for this 2021!

  • Robert Dec 30, 2020 @ 21:54

    Great help as i bought a very cheap tremolo C harmonica just to see if it was easy playing. With these tunes i have the confidence to take the next step and buy a diatonic harmonica in the future. Just sat down watching the telly i have three tune down to a tee, i am sure when i get more serious listening will be a pleasure for other people i decide to show off to.

  • Neil Dec 14, 2020 @ 18:43

    Just bought a harmonica and really enjoyed playing all those tabs to get me started. Thanks!

    • Bruno Berloto Dec 15, 2020 @ 23:50

      Thanks for your comment Neil! I’m glad to know that you enjoyed the songs. Regards!

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